There’s a refreshing honesty and straightforwardness when you talk to singer-songwriter Brian Fallon about writing music.
“Songs don’t necessarily fall into my lap very often,” he readily admits. “I’m always looking for a cornerstone or foundation to start with.”
That foundation led the Gaslight Anthem frontman to his second solo outing, “Sleepwalkers,” a compilation of tunes ranging from Bruce Springsteen-style rockers fans have grown accustomed to, to ’60s-era doo wop and ’70s-infused experimentations.
amNewYork had the chance to chat with Fallon about the new record, as well as The Gaslight Anthem celebration of “The ’59 Sound” at this year’s Governors Ball in June.
“Sleepwalkers” really embraces your past with The Gaslight Anthem, but at the same time, there’s a completely new vibe throughout. What brought you to that sound?
I always kind of follow what I’m into right then. Whatever’s inspiring me at the time. For this record I did that. I explored everything. I didn’t take anything and say I can’t do this. I didn’t want to limit myself. … Say I’m writing songs for The Cure. You have to be The Cure. You can stretch. But you have to be within the fences of what the band is. When you’re solo you can stretch even more. You can do a lot in that capacity because there’s no typeset put on you.
Did you miss not having your bandmates to collaborate with?
I bounced a lot of things off of [producer] Butch [Walker] on the first solo record. Then I had [producer] Ted [Hutt] to bounce off [on “Sleepwalkers”]. I would always do that in Gaslight. My role didn’t really change here except I had more say in how the final product would be done. I could see a song through the whole way.
Speaking of the band, you guys will be celebrating the 10-year anniversary of your breakout record “The ‘59 Sound” at Governors Ball later this year. Did that album feel like a big deal to you?
Yeah, that was the record that put us on the map. So we felt like we should do something. We could let it go or we could just go out play the songs and do some shows and to us that sounded fun. That’s the thing about the band these days. We just want to do things that are fun.
So with this under your belt, are you guys back to being a full-time band again?
Well we haven’t done it yet. Sometimes you can reach a point, through no fault of anyone in the band that you can say “I don’t think there’s anything more to say right now.” I think you have to recognize that. It’s a hard decision to make because you’re making it for the betterment of the future and the history of what you’ve done. You have to be really honest and go “I don’t know if we have much more to contribute to what we’ve done. Maybe it’s best not to add to that and just enjoy what there is that’s good, rather than force something out of it.”
If you go: Brian Fallon & The Howling Weather are performing at Brooklyn Steel on Wednesday at 8 p.m. 319 Frost St., Williamsburg, bowerypresents.com, $28